The second half of the previous century was the most important in the life of many people in the modern history of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It was precisely in that period that our great ascetic and spiritual father Archimandrite Gabriel (Urgebadze) began his ministry. Having set upon himself the crown of foolishness for Christ’s sake, he would constantly repeat, “God is love.”
Elder Gabriel’s life personifies all nine of the Beatitudes, for he was poor of spirit and found the Kingdom of Heaven. He experienced every manifestation of a lack of love with his whole heart, and he wept, was meek, and hungered and thirsted after righteousness—and he was satisfied; he sowed the word of God and reaped the fruits—strengthening people in faith, and giving them hope and love, guiding them on the true path. He was merciful and pure-hearted; peace and grace radiated from his heart! They persecuted him for the truth and reviled him and slandered him in every way for the Lord God. But he endured it all. He bravely endured only for the sake of love for the Most High, to Whom he had dedicated his entire life.
We present here a selection of several new testimonies of Elder Gabriel that confirm the fact that our beloved Father Gabriel is a speedy helper and daring intercessor even in the most seemingly simple cases. He is always near and ready to help. The most important thing is to pray, not to lose hope, and to trust in the Lord God.
Maka Shukakidze recalls:
I looked, and I couldn’t believe it… It was my turn. I jumped up, went up to the operator, and gave him my documents. Just then another citizen came up to us and said, “You know, I’m 651, it should have been my turn now.” The operator was confused, but finished my business in a few minutes. “Apparently there were some technical problems, although that’s never happened,” the operator repeated, surprised. But I know there were no technical problems. Our beloved St. Gabriel took care of me, took pity on me and let me go ahead, so I would manage to get a copy of my certificate. I’m sorry I didn’t tell the operator and the citizen whose place I took about it, but now, reading this article, they’ll find about it, and I’m glad about that.
These are the kind of miracles that Elder Gabriel works; that’s how he supports everyone who calls upon him and asks for his help.
A spiritual child of Elder Gabriel, Ketevan Bekauri, recalls:
It was especially hard for me after Elder Gabriel’s repose; I was worried about losing him. I’m sure you will agree that it’s hard for us when someone near to us departs for eternity. That’s how it was for me. A month after Elder Gabriel’s death, I had a dream where I was in the yard at Sioni Cathedral, and there were many people. Everyone was waiting for someone, praying, and rejoicing. I was also standing among the people, not understanding what was going on. I saw a car stop and several priests got out of it. I saw Elder Gabriel standing near the car and looking at us. And missing him so much, I began to cry and mentally say to the elder, “Father, you were with us just a month ago, being foolish1 and guiding us on the true path… You left for eternity! We needed you here! What can you do now?!” Suddenly, Elder Gabriel looked at me sternly and loudly said, “What can I do?! Watch!” And he ascended into the air, shouting with a thunderous voice, “Glory to God!” And everyone in the yard repeated Fr. Gabriel’s exclamation: “Glory to God!” I woke up from this shout! I felt like I had heard these words awake! This was 1995. Then, day after day, year after year, I gradually forgot everything. I forgot about the dream.
Nineteen years later, in 2014, when Elder Gabriel’s relics were uncovered at Samtavro Monastery, I was in the monastery courtyard all night. Something incredible was happening in Mtskheta, and in all of Georgia! A great number of people had gathered! In the morning it was decided to transfer Father’s relics to Svetitskhoveli Church. When they opened the gates of Samtavro Monastery, and the people saw Fr. Gabriel’s reliquary with his holy relics, everyone, without having planned it, exclaimed, “Glory to God!” There were several thousands of people there! This exclamation was heard throughout the whole city of Mtskheta. Then I remembered the dream I had nineteen years ago! I stopped dead in my tracks, unable to take even a step! Tears of joy and repentance were streaming down my face! Then Elder Gabriel whispered in my ear, “And you didn’t believe!”
I believe, my beloved Father Gabriel!